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Disqualification By Reason Of Mental Incapacity Or Immaturity

The following can not be witnesses:
1. Those whose mental conditions, at the time of their production for examination, is such that they are incapable of intelligently making known their perception to others.
2. Children whose mental maturity is such as to render them incapable of perceiving the facts respecting which they are examined and relating to them truthfully.

People vs. Salomon (1993)
A mental retarded is not for this reason alone disqualified from being a witness.

Child Witness Rule (Sec.6, AM 00-4-07-SC)
Every child is presumed qualified to be a witness. However, the court shall conduct a competency examination of a child, motu propio or on motion of a party, when it finds that substantial doubt exists regarding the ability of the child to perceive, remember, communicate, distinguish truth from falsehood, or appreciate the duty to tell the truth in court.

People vs. Mendoza (1996)
Requisites of competency of a child as witness:
1. Capacity of observation
2. Capacity of recollection
3. Capacity of communication

The qualifications and disqualifications of witnesses are determined as of the time the said witnesses are produced for examination in court or at the taking of their depositions.

With respect to children of tender years, their competence at the time of the occurrence to be testified to should be taken into account, especially if such event took place long before their production as

Unsound Mind - any mental aberration, whether organic or functional, or induced by drugs or hypnosis.

Unsoundness of mind does not per se render a witness incompetent, one maybe medically insane but in law capable of giving competent testimony.

General Rule
Lunatic or a person affected with insanity is admissible as a witness if he has sufficient understanding to apprehend the obligation of an oath and is capable of giving a correct account of the matters which
he has seen or heard with respect to the questions at issue.

If the witness is a lawful inmate of an asylum for the insane, he will not be presumed to be competent and before he can testify his competency should be made to appear by the party offering him. This
is because the insanity is presumed to continue as a mental state, if it has once existed, until the contrary is shown.

Idiots are incompetent witnesses. They may be classed as insane persons. An Idiot being one who has no understanding of his nativity, the law presumes that he will never attain any.

However, it is not prudent to admit the interpretation of a teacher if he cannot understand properly the signs given by the deaf-mute who was not even his student.

Drunkenness does not per se disqualify a witness from testifying. The point of inquiry is the moment of examination.

A witness is not rendered incompetent by the fact that he was under the influence of a drug at the time of the occurrence as to which he testifies, or at the time of giving his testimony.

Deaf-mutes are competent witnesses when:
1. They can understand and appreciate the sanctity of an oath
2. Can comprehend facts they are going to testify to and
3. Can communicate their ideas through a qualified interpreter.

In the case of a child witness, the court in determining his competency must consider his capacity:
1. At the time the fact to be testified to occurred such that he could receive correct impressions thereof
2. To comprehend the obligation of an oath and
3. To relate those facts truly at the time he is offered as a witness. The court should take into account his capacity for observation, recollection, and communication.

A child who witnessed the crime when he was 11 years old and testified thereto when he was already 15, is a competent witness.

The intelligence of the child is the test of his competency and not his age.

The court, not the judge as an individual, is to be satisfied of the competency of the child.